Two of our nasty little biting bugs

Bedbugs are found pretty much all over the world, although there only are four species in North America.
A bedbug is quite well-adapted to its lifestyle. It doesn’t have any wings and it is quite flat. As such, it can hide in very small crevices, cracks in the wall, under wallpaper, seams in sheets, and so on.
Its colour is reddish-brown, and it really stinks.
It doesn’t like the light, so it hides in the daytime and does its dirty work at night.
Its “dirty work” is to puncture your skin and suck out a bit of your blood.
The bite itself is not very painful at all, so you might not even know if you got bitten. However, in the next day or two, you likely will develop a red spot, which gets either painful or very itchy.
Actually, a little bit of venom is injected into each bite.
The bedbug is poisonous to some people, but really only a few. To most folks, it is just an itchy nuisance.
These bugs usually are associated with people, although some do attack mice, poultry, and some bats. And for unknown reasons, some like to live in the nests of swallows.
As far as man is concerned, bedbugs are not a serious carrier of disease—more of a nuisance.
They tend to gather in houses, in cracks, bedsprings, and edges of sheets and mattresses. They are quite common where a lot of people are housed together: barracks, jails, and so on, and in poultry houses.
And they are transmitted from place to place on clothes, luggage, furniture, etc.
They are very slow at reproducing. A whole cycle takes about seven weeks, and there are only about seven generations a year.
The bedbug, Cimex lectularius, is one of our irritants. He is not a serious threat, but he sure can annoy you.
There are lots of fleas in the world. Almost all birds and mammals have them.
Fleas are not like other insects. They are very small, and they are flattened sideways.
They don’t fly so they have no wings. As well, none of them have compound eyes like most other insects—and some have no eyes at all.
One thing they all do have is strong jumping legs. A human flea can jump about seven inches straight up and a foot sideways.
Fleas feed on blood. To get it, they bite into their hosts.
Human fleas are very annoying, indeed. A flea’s mouthparts are made for sucking, and some actually burrow right into the skin of their hosts (there is one species which burrows right under the toenails of people).
They are pretty active little fellows, too, and move quite freely all over your body. They also move freely from one host to another, from humans to dogs or chickens, for instance.
Eggs are laid in dirt or in birds’ nests, where the larvae feed on all sorts of organic material, including the feces of other fleas.
Their eating habits are not very fastidious!
Fleas don’t carry a lot of disease bacteria but they do carry that scourge of mankind, the Bubonic Plague (Black Death), and have done so since about 500 BC.
In the Middle Ages, the plague killed millions of people.
To keep fleas under control, there are lots of things that help. You easily can keep your cat or dog flea-free, and the same for your henhouse if you have one.

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